Getting Pregnant With Infertility
In the US, approximately 9% of men and 11% of women of reproductive age have experienced fertility problems. Many people incorrectly assume the woman is at fault when infertility occurs. However, a third of infertility cases are thought to be caused by the male partner, another third by the female partner, and the last third attributed to both partners. A diagnosis of infertility can be stressful, but pregnancy is still possible. Couples who use assisted reproductive technology (ART), such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), can successfully build a family.
The science of ART
Many people new to the fertility world may wonder how ART works. First, patients should understand that ART is an umbrella term encompassing various procedures for handling eggs or embryos. The best-known example is IVF, but intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI), donor eggs, and surrogacy also fall under this header. With IVF, the woman is given medication to stimulate many eggs to grow. The eggs are then extracted from the ovaries and taken to the lab to be combined with sperm. Once an embryo has been created, the specimen is grown in the lab for a few days before being transferred back into the uterus.
IVF success rates
The overall success of IVF depends on many factors, including the patient’s age, underlying health conditions, fertility diagnosis, number of eggs transferred, and whether any add-on procedures, such as ICSI, are attempted. For women under 35, the live birth rate from IVF is around 54%. As patients age, that number decreases, with women over 42 seeing a 4% live birth rate. Recent research shows that women who undergo IVF using a frozen embryo have more success than women who undergo IVF with a fresh embryo transfer. Subsequent IVF cycles can also increase the chances of pregnancy if the first round doesn’t work.
Stay physically and mentally strong
Fertility treatment can be emotionally and physically demanding. The use of fertility medication, constant appointments, invasive procedures, and no guarantee of success can significantly affect the mind and body. While undergoing IVF, women should focus on self-care and finding ways to reduce stress. A nightly meditation routine can do wonders, while yoga and other low-impact exercises like swimming are a great way to disconnect. Finding people who are supportive of the journey can also help. A trusted partner or family member can provide emotional support, making the path to parenthood less stressful and more enjoyable.
Find hope with ART
Reproductive technology is advancing more and more every day. Even with a diagnosis of infertility, a family is possible. After trying unsuccessfully for 1 year or 6 months if over the age of 35, an appointment can be made with a fertility specialist to discuss treatment options. In vitro fertilization is the most successful ART treatment, and patients who pursue IVF have a good chance of getting pregnant and bringing home a healthy baby.